9 'probable' swine flu cases in Chicago area

3 schools closed due to swine flu concern
April 29, 2009 9:16:26 PM PDT
Health officials are investigating nine probable cases of swine flu in the Chicago area. Mayor Daley and other local officials- including Governor Pat Quinn and CPS CEO Ron Huberman- spoke at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon about the outbreak.

NEWS CONFERENCE VIDEO: Officials gathered at the Office of Emergency Management and Communications to talk about the local response.

The Illinois health department said there are 9 probable cases in Illinois, all of which are in the Chicagoland area: 5 in Chicago, 2 in Kane County, 1 in DuPage Co, and 1 in Lake Co.

2 probable cases at UC Medical Center

Two of the nine probable cases are employees at the University of Chicago hospital.

The University of Chicago Medical Center isn't saying much about the two employees but the two are said to be recovering well at home. They haven't been at work for more than a week. During the time they were contagious they had no contact with any patients and only limited contact with hospital staff. That's because they have administrative jobs.

The hospital isn't saying anything about their ages or gender. Any co-workers who have come in contact with them have been identified and the hospital is now working with them.

Earlier this week, the University of Chicago Medical Center started requiring that everyone entering the hospitals was to use liquid hand sanitizer. Security guards were enforcing that policy all week in an effort to prevent the spread of swine flu.

The office in which the two university workers worked has been thoroughly cleaned.

Another Chicago patient is a Loyola student. Michael Hairsine, 20, lives on campus in the Rogers Park neighborhood. His dorm building, Fairfield hall, has been sanitized.

Hairsine told ABC7 he doesn't know where got the virus and just found out it was swine flu on Wednesday.

"Today I got a call telling me the results of my culture and that it's more than likely I have the swine flu. They're just waiting for confirmation of the tests from Atlanta to say for 100 percent certain it's swine flu," said Hairsine.

There is a 12-year-old girl from Rogers Park who has been hospitalized with a probable case of swine flu.

Other local cases involve a 25-year-old man in the Lakeview neighborhood; a 35-year-old woman in Hegewisch; and a 36-year-old woman in the Woodlawn community.

Health experts say that common sense action will slow the spread of the outbreak.

"If people are sick, no matter if it's cinco de mayo, a school, a church, a synagogue or any place of worship or anywhere else, a movie theater they should stay home. That's the key message," said Dr. Terry Mason, Chicago Department of Health.

The patients in the suburbs are a 6-year-old Lake County boy; a 26-year-old DuPage County man; and two students in Kane County, 12 and 18-years old.

3 schools closed due to swine flu concern

There are now three schools in the Chicago area that have been closed because of swine flu: Rotolo Middle School in Batavia, Marmion Academy in Aurora and Kilmer Elementary in Rogers Park.

The schools are closed because the flu appears to be transmitted from person to person, not person to object.

Marmion headmaster John Milroy learned 20 minutes after classes were dismissed on Wednesday afternoon that he had a 20-year-old with a probable case of swine flu. He made the decision to close the school through the weekend.

"It's prevention. One of my primary responsibilities is the health and welfare of the school and community here," said John Milroy, Marmion Academy headmaster.

The Kane County Health Department set up a call center to answer questions about swine flu - many from parents of students at the schools concerned about what to do.

"What we're doing say very conservative approach here. We think it gives the best chance of interrupting any infectious disease transmission," said Paul Kuehnert, Kane County Health Department.

One-thousand five-hundred students attend Rotolo Middle School in Batavia. All of them will be off through the weekend after a 12-year-old girl was diagnosed with a probable case of the swine flu there.

"Close the school is the way to stop the transmission. Stop large school activities," said Supt. Jack Barshinger, District 101, Batavia.

So far one Chicago schook , Kilmer Elementary in Rogers Park, is closed after a student there was diagnosed with a probable case of swine flu. And at CPS headquarters, they've also set up a call center. They're making calls to try to get information on the attendance patterns.

"We're following up with a phone call to every student, parent or guardian to find out why they are sick, why they are out," said Ron Huberman, Chicago School CEO.

The 12-year-old and 18-year-old Kane County students are said to be home recovering.

There are just a few weeks of school left, so the timing is very unfortunate. School officials are canceling all activities as well as classes. The Marmion Academy had a R.O.T.C. drill team was scheduled to go to Florida on Thursday but that trip has been canceled.

Soccer fans take precautions

Some soccer fans took extra precautions on Wednesday night as the Chicago Fire took on Mexico's Club America team.

The stadium was packed at Toyota Park in southwest suburban Bridgeview.

Club America arrived from Mexico on Monday night. All of the players have been given a clean bill of health.

Officials at Toyota Park did provide hand sanitizers for fans on Wednesday night. About a dozen fans were seen wearing face masks.

"I'm just trying to be safe. I don't know about being a big concern, if it was a big concern I wouldn't be here," said Jack Reyes, soccer fan.

"I think it's important to say that we've got to go on we have to make sure that we're cautious in dealing with the epidemic but at the same time we feel comfortable after speaking to our doctors that everything is under control," said Dennis Hamlett, Chicago Fire coach.

Wednesday's game in Bridgeview was much different than the one Club America experienced on Sunday when the soccer team played in an empty stadium in mexico city due to swine flu fears.

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